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Head of Mid-Tennessee Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors Fired from N.Y. Project After Undocumented Workers Are Arrested - (11/30/2009)

In a shining example of the insidious nature of the “low road” approach to construction that has taken hold in the United States and across Tennessee, the company owned by the Chairman-Elect of the Mid-Tennessee Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) was fired from a project in New York after the arrest of seven undocumented workers – one of whom was also facing a federal weapons charge.  Even more disturbing is the fact that the undocumented workers were supplied by a labor broker known as Trades Unlimited of Nashville, whose CEO is also the Vice Chairman of the Mid-Tennessee ABC.

Local labor leaders had repeatedly warned the civic leaders of Chemung County, NY that out-of-state contractors coming in and refusing to hire local labor were undermining the area’s workers; its tax base; and its economic prosperity.

In mid-October, those warnings to the county’s Industrial Development Agency were driven home with the arrest of seven undocumented workers from Mexico working for Walker Electric on an $88 million warehouse project for CVS.  

Walker Electric, which is based in Nashville and is owned by Mike Walker the Chairman-Elect of the Mid-Tennessee ABC, was summarily fired from the CVS project by contractor Gray Construction of Lexington, Ky.

The undocumented workers were contracted to Walker by Trades Unlimited, a for-profit agency that advertises its “detailed hiring process” in supplying workers in many trades. Trades Unlimited’s founder, chairman and CEO is John Stallworth, First Vice Chairman of the Mid-Tennessee ABC.

The next day, after a meeting with Chemung County’s executive, the general contractor agreed to hire seven local electricians to replace the workers arrested.  

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